Empower Native Women: Remove Barriers from Plan B!

Native American women face high barriers to getting Plan B By Stephanie Siek, CNN

O’siyo.Native women, especially those living in isolated areas on reservations face many barriers to obtaining  proper health care, including  access to emergency contraceptives. More over, many Native American females are not aware of the existence of the pill Plan B, nor of  the important function it serves.

Anadarko Community Esteem Project Photo- Home site

“In most of the United States, a woman 17 years or older who needs Plan B, an emergency contraceptive that can prevent pregnancy up to 72 hours after intercourse, can walk up to a pharmacy counter and request it without a prescription. But for Native American women served by the Indian Health Service, obtaining Plan B might require a drive of hundreds of miles, a wait beyond the pill’s window of effectiveness, and a price beyond what the IHS would charge.

Anadarko Community Esteem Project

According to a recent report by the Native American Women’s Health Education Resource Center (NAWHERC), Native American women living on reservations can face significant barriers when trying to access emergency contraception. According to the roundtable of 50 community workers, women’s advocates and Native American women from South Dakota, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arizona almost all IHS facilities they dealt with require women to see a doctor or get a prescription in order to get Plan B. The medicine is offered without additional cost at IHS pharmacies, but not all pharmacies stock it. if a woman happens to need the medication outside of business hours or on the weekend, she has to wait until the facility reopens – which could be up to several days. If we want it, we have to leave the reservation. One, you have to have a car or hire someone to drive you, two, you have to have the time to access it, three you have to have the money to access it. Adding to the urgency of the matter is that many women seeking Plan B need it because they have been raped.

Maya Torralba, founder :director of ACEP. Photo credit Canku Ota

Maya Torralba a member of the Kiowa, Comanche and Wichita tribes, is the founder and director of the Anadarko Community Esteem Project, which counsels and helps females. I didn’t even know about Plan B until I did this roundtable.I didn’t know that was an option, or that we had access to it, and here I am an advocate for young women. Now that I do know this, I am trying to make sure that women are aware of it.”

This is an important article that should be read by all. Kudos to Maya Torralba and the others for trying to help females keep on the right path.

“We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.” ~Dr. Maya Angelou~

Category: Native Rights